Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Iyobinte Pusthakam review: "Brilliance in technicality backed by a compelling tale!!!"

Along with "Varsham", another film that had graced the screens of Bangalore was "Iyobinte Pusthakam" which had made people sit up with its classy trailer & catchy posters. Frankly speaking, I was kinda circumspect when I realised that it was Amal Neerad who was calling the shots. Well he was only to blame as his films oozed style but lacked substance. But with Fahad Fazil pitching in money with the former, it instilled hope that this could be a whole different experience or was it ???

The film unfolds in the era when the nation has been gripped by the declaration of Emergency, at which point a comrade (T.G Ravi) decides to pen down the turmoil that Munnar had experienced in the pre-Independence period. The tale begins from the time a British tea planter, Harrison (Sal Yusuf) set eyes on his slave who he rechristens as Iyob (Lal) & makes him his aid. After Harrison's estranged wife returns to Britain, he gets enticed by Kazhali (Lena), who was rumored to be a sorceress. In the meantime, Iyob gets married to Annamma (Reenu Mathews) & takes over the reins of Harrison's empire by force, though the latter had it in his will that it should be handed over to Kazhali & their daughter, Martha (Isha Sharwani). Iyob's reign of terror further entrenched the hills as his elder sons proved to be the incarnation of evil which was despised by his youngest son, Aloshy (Fahad Fasil) who flees from his household & joins the British Royal Navy. Years later, Aloshy returns to his home only to learn that his fathers & brothers has transgressed all limits of humanity. Will Aloshy flee yet again or will he have the guts to stand his ground against his own blood ???

Amal Neerad's films has never been devoid of technical brilliance & it's pretty much the same scenario here as well, as the frames looks absolutely fantastic. Gopan Chidambaram's story might not blow your socks off but the screenplay that he has weaved along with Syam Pushkaran will surely do. All the characters has been well etched with each one having a credible role in the script & that's exactly the reason why we get totally immersed into this tale of deceit & lust. If at all, I have been irked with something then it has to be the positioning of the songs which disturbs the tempo of the movie. However, Neha Nair & Yakzan Gary deserves praise for their BGM & music which was soothing to the ears. The art department also deserves a pat on their back.

It's difficult to say as to who was the best among the lot, as each one has done utmost justice to their role. However, the ever improving Jayasurya is the one who wins my vote for his superlative portrayal of the antagonist, Rawther. Fahad Fazil was fantastic as always along with Lal & Vinayakan, while there couldnt have been a better choice than Chemban Vinod & Jinu Joseph, as Iyob's sons. Among the female leads, I was initially surprised why Padmapriya had chosen this role as she barely had dialogues but I was made to eat my words as she showcased her caliber as the movie progressed. The rest of the cast seemed fine, be it Lena, Isha etc., while Amala Paul's item number seemed out of place.

Verdict:  If Amal Neerad keeps up the good work with a credible script each time, then I believe he has what it takes to last the distance. It's definitely one of the best movies that I had watched this year as the cast & crew has pretty much aced it. In short, make sure you dont miss it!!!

Rating: 4.5/5


Monday, November 10, 2014

Varsham review: "Mammookka at his best in this tear jerker!!!"

Diwali season is the time when Hindi & Tamil movies rule the roost due to which the last couple of weeks has been quite silent at the box-office as far as Malayalam films were concerned (except for "Vellimoonga" which I unfortunately missed out). Though I had watched "Happy New Year" & "Bang Bang", it was so mediocre that I didn't feel like writing review for it. However, this week we have Mammookka's "Varsham" hitting the screens & since it is helmed by Ranjith Shankar, I naturally have high hopes pinned on it.

Venugopal (Mammookka) is a successful private financier for whom the Gandhian notes had much more significance than virtues like compassion or empathy. For Venu & his wife, Nandhini (Asha Sarath) their whole world revolved around their son, Anand (Prajwal Prasad), who was the apple of their eyes. In today's world of cut-throat competition, both Venu & Nandhini were fierce competitors for whom their son was the means through whom they expected to accomplish their hopes & ambitions. But fate takes a cruel swipe at them, as their son's life was cut short; leaving Venu shattered. Though Nandhini makes an effort to come to terms with their loss, Venu was neither consolable nor had the will to think ahead. What ultimately causes a change in Venu's attitude towards life & how that in turn proves to be a blessing for many others forms the crux of the movie.

Right from the time Ranjith Shankar burst into the scene with "Passenger", I have been a fan of his movies as it always dealt with individuals & scenarios that we have either experienced or accustomed to. In "Varsham", he gives us a peek into the pressures that parents burden their children with invariably to satisfy their whims & fancies. Ranjith also makes a fleeting mention about the blade mafia, though that lacked fizz towards the climax. The first half gives us a glimpse of the self centred life of Venu while the latter half depicts as to how he tries to pick up the pieces of his life after his son's demise. The emotional scenes are just fantastic, as it well & truly tugs at our heart chords. Bijibal has done a credible job with the music & BGM while Manoj's frames were fine.

What do I say about Mammookka...he is a maestro when it comes to emotional drama & he has excelled at it yet again. The legend has the ability to make us feel the character's pain & you cant help it as our eyes does well up at times. Asha Sarath has done a fine job as Nandhini along with Mamtha Mohandas who makes her presence felt after a hiatus. Prajwal Prasad was convincing while Sunil Sukhada, Sudheer Karamana & Hareesh Peradi did their parts aptly. However, I felt T.G Ravi's character lacked the menace that it required.

Verdict: The film will definitely have an impressive initial thanks to the wide release & credentials of the cast and crew. It is not one with a whole lot of twists & turns, but rather one which makes us realise as to how fickle life is and that many of us happen to be cut from the same cloth. I dont have any qualms in admitting that my eyes did moisten in some of the sequences & I do feel that you guys got to definitely check it out especially for Mammookka's performance!!!

Rating: 3.5/5